General Recommendations - Apartment Crime Prevention

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  • Avoid ApartmentSafetySigncostly evictions later by using strong tenant screening checklists. Require a good reference from the 2nd and 3rd prior landlord for every tenant and verify you are speaking to actual prior landlords. Ask the previous landlords about rules violations and police calls. Pay now or pay later – invest time, effort, and money in screening for responsible, law-abiding tenants.
  • Evict or let go of problem tenants after a warning. Don’t wait for a problem to take root and grow! Many landlords have a “three strikes, you’re out” policy for problem behavior. If necessary provide problem tenants with incentives to leave, such as allowing theNoTrespassingm to break the lease, returning the deposit, letting them leave, or returning pro-rated rent for the month.
  • Actively manage your property. Know who are tenants and who are guests. Stress that the property is for the enjoyment of residents and accompanied guests only; ask non-residents hanging out on the property to leave and call police if they don’t; promptly follow up on and document all behavior complaints; promptly follow up on and document all police calls; paint out graffiti every day; and keep security features (gates, fences, lighting, surveillance cameras) working.
  • Consider month-to-month tenancies for greatest flexibility, or starting a new tenant on a month-to-month tenancy until you are satisfied the tenant is responsible and abides by laws and community rules. “Reward” responsible tenants with longer-term leases and/or incentives to remain.
  • Ask residents to report noise problems and other minor issues FIRST to the management (or Callingsecurity staff if hired),  before calling police. Managers need to know about these incidents, and the majority of noise complaints are not criminal. Managers often have better leverage through the lease and community rules to address minor issues.
  • Promptly follow-up on all incidents involving the police to see if the residents are okay, and to get a sense of what occurred if the residents are willing to share that information.
  • Establish clear apartment rules, such as no alcohol or smoking in common areas. Enforce and document violations fairly for everyone with zero tolerance. Go over rules with prospective tenants line-by-line, in person.
  • Use and enforce a crime-free lease addendum for the following reasons: it can scare away criminal-minded tenants; provide leverage because it applies to family members and guests; set a zero-tolerance tone; and let residents know you care about preventing crime and disorder. Go over the addendum with prospective tenants line-by-line, in person.
  • Require all household members age 18 and older to be on the lease. This will be helpful in enforcing community rules and completing partial evictions. If you see a guest turning into a resident, follow up with the person(s) on the lease. Check out this information developed by Chris McGoey, President of McGoey Security Consulting, on recognizing and responding to non-tenants causing problems or living in a unit without the manager’s permission.
  • Consider hiring private security for certain hours if the property is large, trespassing is a problem, or to handle and document after-hours noise disturbance complaints. Tips on getting the most out of a security guard contract (also developed by Chris McGoey) can be found here.

 

 

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